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How much is too much when it comes to online elements of campus executive education programmes?

A poll of participants who completed an executive open programme in 2014 found that while they recognised the advantages of virtual learning, many wanted to keep it to a minimum.

A little more than half the group said they would like less than 25 per cent of teaching and assessment to be online if they attended a similar course in future. About a fifth thought having 25–50 per cent of the course delivered virtually was acceptable, while 15 per cent preferred to study entirely in a classroom.

Two-thirds of the 990 respondents said the main drawback of online learning was a lack of interaction with faculty and course participants. Other disadvantages included a lack of networking opportunities and the level of self-discipline involved.

Nearly two-thirds of participants had completed a course with an online component. The main benefits highlighted were the opportunities to study flexibly and save time and money.

There is concern in the sector about massive open online courses threatening the take-up of lucrative campus courses, but only a third of participants had heard of Moocs and just 11 per cent had taken such a course.

“Moocs have their place for learning in functional areas, but nothing can replace face-to-face interactive learning in a typical open-enrolment leadership programme,” said one respondent.

French cuisine fails the test

It seems that lunches in France — traditionally renowned for their quality and their duration — are not what they were, writes Laurent Ortmans.

Executives attending open-enrolment programmes at French business schools regularly mark down the quality of the meals they are offered. Of the 30 criteria used to rate programmes, former students surveyed by the FT gave food the worst score at three of the eight French schools in the 2015 executive education ranking. One school received a paltry 5.9 out of 10.

“It wasn’t a treat,” one participant noted succinctly of the processed food served up at another school.

For those for whom mention of “courses” conjures up menus rather than study materials, the food at HEC Paris fared best among business schools in France.

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